Reintroduction: Part 2 of the Plant-Based Whole30

Reintroduction: Part 2 of the Plant-Based Whole30

Reintroduction is mission-critical to your Plant-Based Whole30 experience. (Translation: DON’T SKIP IT, or you’ll lose half of the benefits the program has to offer!)

In this next phase of your Plant-Based Whole30, you’ll reintroduce the delicious foods you’ve been missing, paying attention to their impact on your health, habits, and relationship with food. Reintroducing food groups carefully and systematically one at a time will help you learn how each affects your energy, sleep, mood, cravings, digestion, allergies, or migraines. You’ll be able to compare how you felt without these foods to how you feel when you reintroduce them. This will give you critical information you need to create the perfect diet for you in your Food Freedom.

Timeline

Day 30, we want you to feel empowered by and confident in your Plant-Based Whole30 journey. Now comes the fun part: bringing back some of the foods and drinks you’ve missed! Just remember, to make the most of your Whole30 learnings and set yourself up for success in your Food Freedom, remain just as committed to the second half of your Plant-Based Whole30 as you were the first 30 days. 

Reintroduction generally takes between 6 and 30 days and is not to be rushed! Food groups must be reintroduced one at a time, while keeping the rest of your diet Plant-Based Whole30-compatible. Think of it like a scientific experiment, where you’re looking to systematically evaluate just one factor at a time to see how it impacts you. Hopefully by Day 30 you’re feeling nourished and empowered by your Whole30 experience. You’re excited for reintroduction and ready to take it slow. If, on Day 31, you run right out and eat pasta, chocolate, vegan nachos, and beer, how will you know what food caused the bloating, lethargy, poor sleep, and breakouts? (You won’t.)

You’ll also go back to the Plant-Based Whole30 by-the-book for two days between each reintroduction food group, to allow any symptoms brought on by reintroduction to settle down before you bring in something else. (This also gives you a touchpoint in case reintroducing tortilla chips, bread, or sugar sends your symptoms or cravings into overdrive.)

Reintroduction Guidelines

The Plant-Based Whole30 offers two different sample reintroduction schedules. The first is for those who don’t wish to reintroduce any animal products. The second accommodates the reintroduction of any or all forms of animal products (eggs, dairy, meat, fish, etc.) that you may wish to test.

We’ll provide a sample schedule for each, but here’s the gist:

  • Ideally, you’ll reintroduce enough of each food group to really test the effects. (A splash of milk in your coffee won’t allow you to see the impact of dairy on your system.)
  • Keep reintroduced foods low in added sugar—ideally avoid sweet treats like cake, brownies, ice cream, or gluten-free cookies. If the only thing you really want is a combination of food groups (sugar + gluten, or sugar +dairy), just know that it may be hard to tease apart the effect of the sugar from everything else.
  • If you really want to reintroduce sugar by itself, start there. However, most people find sugar alone isn’t the issue (if that were the case, you’d crave sugar packets). The combo of sugar + gluten/non-gluten grains/dairy tends to be what causes symptoms like brain fog, mood swings, low energy and bloating and can awaken your Sugar Dragon, so most skip the “just sugar” and start with either alcohol or legumes.
  • If you’re not missing a particular food or beverage or don’t want to include it in your Food Freedom, don’t bother reintroducing it! (And it goes without saying, but if you have a known allergy or intolerance to something, leave that out of your reintroduction as well.)

​​Reintroduction Categories

(OPTIONAL) Added sugar: cane sugar in coffee, honey with sweet tea or drizzled on a sweet potato, tempeh marinated in maple syrup, plant-based protein powder with stevia or monk fruit.

(OPTIONAL) Gluten-free alcohol: gluten-free beer or cider, wine, and unflavored vodka, tequila, gin, rum, or any distilled (unflavored) spirits.

Non-gluten grains: corn on the cob, homemade popcorn, 100% corn tortillas, gluten-free oatmeal, white or brown rice, quinoa.

Gluten-containing grains: whole-grain bread, wraps, or tortillas; pasta or couscous; crackers; low-sugar whole-grain cereals; Gluten-containing alcohol: beer.

(Schedule 2 only) Animal-sourced dairy: heavy cream or full-fat milk, butter, plain yogurt or kefir, cheese, cottage cheese, cream cheese, whey protein powder.

(Schedule 2 only) Animal proteins: poultry, beef, bison, lamb, chicken, turkey, wild game, pork, fish and shellfish, eggs.

Reintroduction Ideas

The best way to reintroduce a food is to plan a normal Plant-Based Whole30 meal, then add one reintroduction food on the side or on top of each. Here are some ideas:

  • Non-Gluten Grains: Add oatmeal to your usual Whole30 breakfast, wrap your plant-based “beef” tacos in a 100% corn tortilla, add a side of rice to your lentils at dinner.
  • Gluten Grains: Add a side of whole wheat toast to your Plant-Based Whole30 breakfast, eat your lunch in a 100% whole grain wrap instead of lettuce, serve your Whole30 plant-based meatballs and marinara over pasta, or drink a beer with dinner.
  • Dairy (Schedule 2 only): Add heavy cream to your coffee, eat a side of plain Greek yogurt with your tofu scramble, add cheese to your Chipotle Whole30 Salad Bowl with plant-based chorizo.
  • Animal Protein (Schedule 2 only): Use eggs instead of tofu in your veggie scramble, use ground beef instead of Abbot’s Butcher plant-based “beef” over greens, swap chicken for tempeh in your veggie stir-fry, or use shrimp instead of chickpeas in your curry.

Reintroduction Results

It’s tough to come up with a comprehensive list of everything that could happen when you reintroduce these potentially problematic foods, because various components of different foods interact with every single person in a unique fashion. You’re looking for any noticeable changes—a reversal of improvement, a return to not-so-awesome, a decline in performance, or a resurgence of symptoms. Here is a list of things you could evaluate during the reintroduction phase, to determine if a particular food is having a negative impact on you:

  • Digestion
  • Energy
  • Sleep
  • Cravings
  • Mood/happiness
  • Attention span/focus
  • Self-confidence
  • Skin
  • Allergies
  • Breathing (asthma, congestion)
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Athletic performance or recovery
  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Medical symptoms

Reintroduction Schedule 1 (No animal products)

In this schedule, you’ll be reintroducing plant-based foods that were eliminated during the reset. These foods are reintroduced on a set schedule, in order to help you identify which foods may be contributing to health symptoms you’re looking to improve. The benefit of this reset is that you get all of your reintroduction over in 6 to 12 days, which means you get to live your Food Freedom fast! 

Because this reintroduction schedule is quite short, feel free to break out each category further for even more learnings. Separate corn from other non-gluten grains, or beer from other gluten-containing products. (Note, this will extend your reintroduction timeline–but the more time you’re willing to spend here, the more you’ll learn.) Remember, leave 2 to 3 days of Plant-Based Whole30 between each reintroduction group.

  • Days 1–30: Plant-Based Whole30
  • Day 31 (optional): Reintroduce added sugar all by itself.
  • Days 32–33: Back to the Plant-Based Whole30.
  • Day 34 (optional): Reintroduce gluten-free alcohol all by itself.
  • Days 35–36: Back to the Plant-Based Whole30
  • Day 37: Reintroduce non-gluten grains all by themselves
  • Days 38–39: Back to the Plant-Based Whole30
  • Day 40: Reintroduce gluten-grains all by themselves.
  • Days 41–42: Back to the Plant-Based Whole30

You can break this schedule down as detailed as you like—reintroduction could easily stretch out for another 10 to 20 days. The slower you go, the more you’ll learn!

Remember that the impact of these potentially inflammatory foods adds up. If at any point you feel like you haven’t adequately recovered from the effects of the reintroduced foods, give yourself a few more days of the Plant-Based Whole30 between food groups.

Reintroduction Schedule 2 (With animal products)

The second reintroduction schedule has a longer timeline, with the length varying depending on how many forms of animal protein you’d like to test and reintroduce in your Food Freedom. For example, if you normally follow a lacto-ovo- or pescatarian plan and would like to continue eating that way during your Food Freedom, only include those specific animal proteins during reintroduction. If you’d like to test how specific animal proteins fit into your Food Freedom, you may choose to extend this reintroduction schedule by testing individual animal proteins one at a time.

Reintroduce foods in this order, skipping categories you do not want to test, making sure to leave at least two days in between food groups.

  • Days 1–30: Plant-Based Whole30
  • Day 31 (optional): Reintroduce added sugar all by itself
  • Days 32–33: Back to the Plant-Based Whole30
  • Day 34 (optional): Reintroduce gluten-free alcohol all by itself
  • Days 35–36: Back to the Plant-Based Whole30
  • Day 37: Reintroduce animal-based protein (poultry, beef, bison, lamb, chicken, turkey, wild game, pork, fish, shellfish, eggs) all by themselves.*
  • Days 38–39: Back to the Plant-Based Whole30
  • Day 40: Reintroduce non-gluten grains all by themselves
  • Days 41–42: Back to the Plant-Based Whole30
  • Day 43: Reintroduce animal-sourced dairy all by itself
  • Day 44–45: Back to the Plant-Based Whole30
  • Day 46: Reintroduce gluten-grains all by themselves
  • Day 47–48: Back to the Plant-Based Whole30

*If you’re curious how specific animal proteins work in your body, we recommend testing those sources one at a time, going back to the Plant-Based Whole30 for 2 to 3 days after reintroducing them. For example, if you want to test eggs alone (as they’re a food to which people are commonly sensitive), you could only reintroduce just eggs on Day 37, and then wait two days before reintroducing other animal proteins. Feel free to leave any animal proteins you’re not interested in reintroducing out of this schedule.

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